Michael Conlan: Belfast boxer earns unanimous points decision over Vladimir Nikitin
Michael Conlan extended his record of professional wins to 13 fights by beating Russian Vladimir Nikitin on a unanimous points decision in New York.
The Belfast featherweight produced a confident and disciplined performance to retain his WBO Inter-Continental title at Madison Square Garden.
The judges' scorecards read 98-92, 99-91 and 100-90 in Conlan's favour.
Nikitin, 29, had beaten Conlan twice as an amateur, including a controversial win at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
That quarter-final defeat denied the 28-year-old Irish fighter a medal.
Conlan was originally supposed to face Nikitin in Belfast last summer but the Russian had to be replaced by Diego Alberto Ruiz after sustaining a bicep injury.
"It was a lot of pressure," Conlan admitted after dominating the 10-round contest. "I feel like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. It's nice to get it done.
"As I've always said, I have no ill feeling towards Vladimir. Nothing was personal. I just needed to get that one back."
"I want to enjoy this. I want a Christmas dinner with ham and all the trimmings," added Conlan, who indicated he expected to be fighting for a world title within the next 12 months.
Prior to the fight promoter Bob Arum had indicated that a world title fight in Belfast could be on the cards within the next 12 months.
Nikitin was previously unbeaten in the professional ranks before losing to Conlan.